February 22, 2010 archive

Late Night Karaoke

Open Thread

Remote-controlled war is the antidote to our malaise.

I don’t know if you got peanut butter on my chocolate, or if I got chocolate in your peanut butter, but two things strike me as natural conjunction in our civic evolution.  America, here’s a very tasty idea to win the war on terror and generate jobs.

Let’s face it: the long war is here to stay.  You can’t protest it away.  Sternly worded letters have failed.  And take my word for it, voting the bastards out or failing to pay your taxes has no discernible effect on the American juggernaut.  This sucker [economy] could go down, but until that happens, we will continue to borrow money into oblivion to fund the damned war machine.

Plus, the war is not going well.  We need more troops, but Americans hate big American body counts.

At the same time we have massive long-term unemployment that is eating away at the social fabric and services to which we’ve grown accustomed.  Wouldn’t it totally suck if you were foreclosed on and lost your Naugahyde Barcalounger and TV remote?  Yes, but it need not be.  And is there anyone better at electronic distractions in the comfort of our living rooms?  Some may be competitive on remotes and joysticks, but we’ve got the pioneer spirit and the eagerness to work, and our patriotism pretty much ices that cake.

So, let’s kill two or fifty birds with one stone.  

Have government hire us to conduct remote-controlled warfare in the nether regions of the world.  Sure, we’ll have to kill people half-way around the world we know nothing about, but we’re doing that anyway, and part of the beauty of remote control is that it is completely a one-sided fight, with no chance of your being killed.  Think about the on-the-job training: a little hand-eye coordination, Three, Two, One, Rifle!  Moments after: Splash!  You just earned a paycheck.  Salaries, commissions, whatever free-market solution tickles you.  You can do it while you’re making dinner!  

Plus, we nail outsourcing and Keynsian stimulus in one fell swoop.  And talk about getting everyone on the same national page.  Hell, it would be difficult and unpopular for government to stop the damned wars!  I smell electoral victories into the foreseeable future.  That’s a plan with a lot of plusses.


Overnight Caption Contest

larger here

Haiti: One Of The Undeveloped Mineral Wealth Treasures On The Planet

Why was the US so quick to send so many troops into Haiti after the earthquake? Why were there so many fears from around the world of US militarism and exploitation in Haiti?


F. William Engdahl is an economist and author and the writer of the best selling book “A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order.”, and has written on issues of energy, politics and economics for more than 30 years, beginning with the first oil shock in the early 1970s.

Here Engdahl talks with Paul Jay of The Real News, says that geophysics suggest there could be massive oil and mineral deposits in Haiti and that the US may be motivated by the desire to strategically deny oil deposits in Haiti to the rest of the world.

ENGDAHL: Well, if you look at a geophysical map of Haiti and the Caribbean, it jumps out that Haiti and Port-au-Prince, Haiti, lies right along the conjunction of what are called tectonic plates, but three separate tectonic plates. If you can imagine a China vase that falls off the table and gets broken in many pieces and you glue it back together, well, these tectonic plates are a bit similar in terms of images.

But three of those converge right at the land area that’s called Haiti, and generally where we have such a conversion of tectonic plates, we have a great amount of geophysical motion, energy, and so forth. They tend to be along-in the Pacific you have the Ring of Fire, which is literally the ring of vulcanic activity-. Indonesia is in one such zone; Saudi Arabia and the giant oil fields of the Middle East, from Kuwait and so forth, the Persian Gulf, are another such convergence of such plates.

And up until now there’s been very little talk about petroleum and Haiti, but it’s not because there hasn’t been interest in petroleum in Haiti. My take on it is that there are-according to geophysicists knowledgeable about the geophysics of the Caribbean basin-you probably have large multinational oil companies, US, British oil companies and their allies, who are aware that with a little bit of exploration onshore and offshore, that there are probably enormous oil finds.

And you just had, two years ago, offshore Cuba, just north of Haiti, a giant-supergiant, actually, oil discovery, with several billion barrels of believed reserves of oil there that the Russians are helping the Cubans to exploit. So it stands to reason that the same geological fault line of these tectonic plates-the Caribbean plate, the North American plate, and the South American plate-they all converge north of Venezuela and in the area that’s called Haiti.

That also makes Haiti ripe for other unusual minerals, such as uranium, gold, and so forth. And my own sense from talking with geophysicists on this whole Haiti question is that Haiti is probably one of the undeveloped treasures of mineral wealth on the planet… full transcript here

The Real News Network – February 19, 2010

Senate HCR and the Continuing Support of Labor Unions

Cross-posted at Progressive Blue.

It’s the same old story. Another slap in the face to both organized labor and the entire middle class as both Craig Becker and the National Labor Relations Board are in limbo. Harry Reid called for recess appointments, The AFL-CIO sprang into action and the president’s response is limbo continued. There is nothing this Democratic president can do for such close allies? As workers are wondering if a functioning NLRB is being saved for October of 2012 this all seems so 1994. But top that off with Obama’s lust for the HCR excise tax and it gets so much worse.

In the debate over the finance of health insurance expansion it would be worth noting that the wealthy who voted for Barack Obama and supported the Democratic party fully expected that healthcare reform would be financed by a roll back the Bush tax cuts for Americans earning more than $250,000 per year. The union members who voted for, stuffed envelopes, reached into their pockets an organized fundraisers, were under the impression that they would see some much needed advancement from a Democratic president after eight years of Bush.

By now most progressive bloggers have moved way beyond these workers who have been losing ground since the 1970’s. It has been rationalized to death so everyone could move on to the next action, followed by the next capitulation, followed by the next wild goose chase towards progress. Come November blue collar workers, like Massachusetts voters recently, might end up being framed as stupid for protecting themselves from harm.

Distrust for government seems to work for Republicans, not for Democrats. As the public option is being presented once again, probably another carrot on a string, a deeper look at this excise tax that will live in the memories of workers for many years is in order. How much trust will be left between the workers and Democratic leadership once this excise tax becomes law and in years to come?

Junk economics and the rape of the middle class

“Behind every great fortune lies a great crime.”

    –  Balzac

  Capitalism hasn’t failed. What has failed is the economic system in place today.

No amount of government taxes, trade barriers, or regulation caused it to fail.

  No investigative reporter, or congressional oversight committee, or regulatory watchdog, exposed the massive fraud and corruption in the financial system today. All of the safeguards put in place to protect the public, and the current system from itself, failed.

  The global financial crisis came to light because what amounts to a falling out amongst thieves. They simply stopped trusting the ability of each other to pay their debts. Once lending stopped, credit creation froze, and the Ponzi-scheme that parallels our financial system broke down.

 This so-called “Great Recession” isn’t cyclical, it’s secular and the problems are systemic. We didn’t get here by accident. Choices were made by very wealthy and powerful people, thus those choices can be reversed.

 It’s important to understand that we aren’t fighting Adam Smith’s Invisible Hand. We are fighting against the Money Trust.

Bank bail-outs: Urgent!!! People without Jobs: Yawn.

Remember when the bank bailouts happened virtually overnight?  

Hank Paulson said, “boo,” and Congress sat bolt upright: Here’s the first trillion!  Here’s the second trillion!  Here’s the third…

Everyday Americans going jobless for years?  Losing homes?  Health insurance? Going hungry?

Nada.  Zilch.  Dick.  Go fuck yourselves, really.  It’s still happening.

Compare and contrast.

Sunday Train: Attacks on HSR in Flyover Country

Burning the Midnight Oil for Living Energy Independence

Today’s Sunday Train is focusing on attacks that have been launched against Ohio’s 3C plan, which was granted $400m in the HSR round of Stimulus II grants. There are attacks from Republicans, engaged in their usual games of negotiating in bad faith and basing critiques on focus group testing of talking points rather than substance. There are attacks from “transport experts”, calling for all of our HSR spending to be focused on the coasts with no systems developed to serve the needs of flyover country.

There is even an attack launched against the award of funds to Ohio by President Obama’s Department of Transportation paradoxically by a kossack who goes by the name of “Ohiobama”.

So today is focused on examining the attacks and seeing what there is to them. And lest it seem that this is a single-state issue, many of these same arguments may be used against all of the plans already in place between the Rockies and the Appalachias, as well as the Pacific Northwest and the South Atlantic Coast.

In honor of the “3C” project (Cleveland/Columbus/Cincinnati), I have Three C’s of Attack” the “Conservative” attack, a “Claim-to-Fame” attack, and a “Clown-Train” attack.

Load more